Radio Flyer

FA197B6E-8DCA-4F7B-B46B-6510EC6EEF1B

If you, like me, are a fan of US movies and TV series, then the iconic Radio Flyer will be more than familiar. Indeed, I know they must be sold in other parts of the world, but like so many everyday iconic items of US life – check out our earlier post on Iconic US Sweets/Candies –  Iconic American Candy – Part 1 – I don’t think I have seen one for sale in the UK. Certainly, when my kids would have loved such a product they weren’t available.

For generations, US kids have carted themselves, several siblings, pets, toys and other important treasures in these charming red trolley wagons. A wonderful item  of great simplicity that’s use is limited only by the depths of a child’s imagination. As American as “Milk Duds” but what’s their story?

2017 saw the celebration of the first hundred years of the Radio Flyer. Antonio Pasin, a Venetian born son of a cabinet maker who, aged 16, in 1913 arrived in New York City to start a new life. In 1917, in Chicago, he started building wooden toy wagons and selling them to local shops. He was a jobbing joiner who built the wooden wagons to carry his tools.

Demand for the wagons led to Pasin forming the Liberty Coaster Company in 1923, and ten years after he made his first wooden wagons he was making pressed steel versions and selling them for just under $3.00. He was very interested in the many production techniques used in the local car industry, earning himself the nickname “Little Ford”. In the 1930’s he produced several versions of his “Liberty Coaster” including The Streak-O-Lite” and The Zephyr that echoed the Chrysler Airflow.

Renaming the company in 1930 the Radio Steel and Manufacturing, the brand name “Radio Flyer” stemming from Pasin’s fascination with the pioneers of Radio (Marconi) and Flight (Lindbergh).

Production was interrupted during the latter stages of the Second World War and turned to oil drum manufacture but the company survived. In 1987 Radio Steel and Manufacturinf became “Radio Flyer Inc” which has been overseen by Pasin’s grandson, Robert as CEO, since 1997.

The company’s range of Radio Flyer and associated products grows annually and aside from being voted a great company to work for, its iconic products are rooted deep in the warmth of the American psyche.

Images used with grateful thanks – Radio Flyer Inc., ClassicCars.com and Vintage Vending Inc.

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

Grant Wood – “American Gothic”

grant-wood-american-gothic

I am delighted to introduce a US based artist, Spike Ress, as a guest-writer for Aestheticons.com.

Spike has kindly agreed to allow us to run a series of his posts that largely coincide with the birthdays of the artists featured. I hope you will enjoy Spike’s first post – here it is celebrating the life and work of Grant Wood.

Grant Wood (1891 – 1942)

Today is the birthday of Grant Wood. Wood was born February 13, 1891 and lived until February 12, 1942.

Grant Wood was an American painter born four miles east of Anamosa, Iowa. He is best known for his paintings depicting the rural American Midwest, particularly the painting American Gothic, an iconic image of the 20th century – the original model’s are seen below.

Grant Woods Models

After high school Wood enrolled in an art school in Minneapolis in 1910 and in 1913 was enrolled at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1920 to 1928, he made four trips to Europe, where he studied many styles of painting, especially Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but it was the work of the 15th-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck that most influenced him.

Wood was an active painter from an extremely young age until his death in 1942, and although he is best known for his paintings, he worked in a large number of media including lithography, ink, charcoal, ceramics, metal, wood and found objects.

Throughout his life he hired out his talents to many Iowa-based businesses as a steady source of income. This included painting advertisements, sketching rooms of a mortuary house for promotional flyers and, in one case, designing the corn-themed decor (including chandelier) for the dining room of a hotel. He returned to Cedar Rapids to teach Junior High students after serving in the army as a camouflage painter.

Wood is associated with the American movement of Regionalism that was primarily situated in the Midwest and advanced figurative painting of rural American themes in an aggressive rejection of European abstraction. In 1932, Wood helped found the Stone City Art Colony near his hometown to help artists get through the Great Depression.

grant-wood-2

“All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow, so I went back to Iowa” – Grant Wood

 

Cross Classic Century – Sterling Silver ballpen

2486C2C5-09E3-4534-9017-D4120F26E29E.jpeg

The Cross family business was founded in Providence (Rhode Island) in 1846 by Richard Cross who manufactured gold and silver casings for pencils. Richard’s son, Alonzo T Cross, inherited the business from his father and developed a host of innovations including the predecessors of the mechanical pencil and modern ball-pen.

Cross pens are the essence of understatement and their simple, iconic and fine Art Deco lines make them timeless. The ladies’ Classic Century is elegant and its Sterling Silver body acquires an allure with age – a patina that, in my view, should only rarely be cleaned.

I was in New York looking for a gift for my wife and there is something classically American about this iconic and authentic pen that forms part of a range that was launched in 1946.  Its patented twist-action barrel sparked a design revolution and its sleek profile has found an army of loyal fans.

Cross is, perhaps, not regarded as being a foremost luxury brand but for me the range, style and workmanship are underrated. The Classic Century is an authentic American classic with a trade mark design that evokes the majesty of certain of New York’s skyline. See our earlier post on The iconic Chrysler Building Chrysler Building, New York City

In 2013 the business of AT Cross was purchased by Clarion Capital Partners LLC.

Should you like me be tempted to buy the special lady in your life an heirloom pen then I can highly recommend the Cross Classic Century – please click the following AMAZON link below the image – to gift this beautiful pen.

45ADAE14-7CCC-4EB9-B9F4-E7B29371CCD9

Cross Century Classic Hallmark Silver Ball Point Pen

You may also be interested to add the matching and equally iconic Century Classic Sterling Silver Pencil to this wonderful gift. Please click the Amazon link below the image

6B750CFD-D5EF-4386-B569-C311C2D40B82

Cross Classic Century Sterling Silver 0.7mm Pencil (H300305)

Don’t risk losing you beautiful and valuable pens – keep them in a bespoke designed leather holder – available for one or two pens – please click the AMAZON link below the image

51BACCCB-E39D-421C-95F2-302383AFF1F2

Cross Classic Century Pencil Cases, 15 cm, Black

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image Credits AT Cross & Co Inc. – with grateful thanks.